We often talk about the importance of stepping away from our screens and iDevices in order to “unplug.” Going cold turkey, we feel, will help us decrease our dependence on our devices.
But Casey N. Cep had a fascinating piece over at the New Yorker‘s culture blog about “the pointlessness of unplugging”:
Unplugging from devices doesn’t stop us from experiencing our lives through their lenses, frames, and formats. We are only ever tourists in the land of no technology, our visas valid for a day or a week or a year, and we travel there with the same eyes and ears that we use in our digital homeland. That is why so many of those who unplug return so quickly to speak about their sojourns. The ostentatious announcements of leave-taking (“I’m #digitaldetoxing for a few days, so you won’t see any tweets from me!” “Leaving Facebook for a while to be in the world!”) are inevitably followed by vainglorious returns, excited exclamations having turned into desperate questions (“Sorry to be away from Twitter. #Digitaldetox for three WHOLE days. Miss me?” “Back online. What did I miss?”).
This is why it’s strange to think of these unplugging events as anything like detox: the goal isn’t really abstinence but a return to these technologies with a renewed appreciation of how to use them.
Read the whole thing here. The essence of the argument lines up neatly with the very theologically rich idea that both fasting and feasting are part of the fully balanced life. What do you think?